Everton 0 Birmingham City 0

Even the most hardened of Birmingham City supporters will admit that great days in the club's 131-year history are so rare that they could be listed on a medium-sized rabbit dropping.

But it is possible - likely, even - that their greatest day of all will take place on Sunday May 7 in the sanitised surroundings of the Reebok Stadium, Bolton.

True enough, Birmingham dropped two points away to Everton at the weekend and suffered a further setback when Portsmouth, their rivals in the fight to avoid relegation, defeated Sunderland 2-1 at home.

The positive among us, however, will see the draw against Everton as a point gained, and that the fixtures for the final matches of the Premiership season favour Birmingham more than they do Portsmouth.

Portsmouth close their season with a trip to Wigan Athletic and a match at home to Liverpool. Birmingham close with a match at home to Newcastle United and what should be an historic match away to Bolton Wanderers.

Under these circumstances, even with the added problem of Portsmouth taking a two-point advantage with two matches remaining, who would back against Birmingham?

If there are more twists to come, Birmingham will have to improve upon their performance here. It was a typical display of passion and of spirit but, at this stage of the campaign, in such a desperate context, it needs some creativity and panache.

Even with the skill of Jermaine Pennant, the strength of Emile Heskey, the urgency of Damien Johnson and the intelligence of Chris Sutton, Birmingham no longer look capable of scoring goals on a consistent level.

They might have scored twice in the first half against Everton - Mario Melchiot headed the ball over the crossbar and Pennant volleyed the ball wide - but these were hardly chances borne of slick play.

Generally, Everton dominated possession and would have won but for a mixture of bad play in the final third of the pitch and solid defending by Birmingham.

It was not an exciting match. For the most part, the Birmingham supporters seemed more interested in events at Fratton Park, where Portsmouth were making heavy work of their match against Sunderland.

At one point, when Sunderland took the lead, the Birmingham fans situated near to the Park End were seen dancing as if auditioning for parts in Fame: the musical. The enthusiasm did not last long. Portsmouth scored twice in quick succession and the audition seemed to turn into a sponsored silence.

On the pitch at Goodison Park, life seemed just as morose. Everton spent much of their time keeping possession to little effect, frustrating their own supporters with a one-dimensional game that had all the hallmarks of a mid-table team wishing away the season.

Birmingham do not have that luxury. They wish it was January, not April - and it shows. Their nervousness is tangible.

Johnson seemed to exemplify their performance here. He suffered a gashed head and, with blood flowing like cheap wine at a student's night out, he was forced to change his shirt three times.

If survival is secured in Bolton in 14 days' time, it will not conceal the real problems that have dogged Birmingham since January 2005.

They no longer have the personalities to rely solely on team spirit, and they do not have enough quality to rely solely on skill. Injuries have been only part of the problem.

Survival on May 7 might only delay the inevitably by another season - unless Steve Bruce can sign the talismanic figures that have aided the club in previous seasons.

The perception grows that Birmingham miss Robbie Savage more than Bruce is prepared to admit, that Mikael Forssell's injury did more damage than was first thought, and that David Dunn might never be allowed to fulfil his potential.

Heskey is a great target man but no natural goalscorer. Kenny Cunningham, though intelligent, is coming to the end of his Premiership career.

Matthew Upson will probably not play again in 2006. Melchiot is not a Birmingham player. Nicky Butt is not as good as his reputation. Chris Sutton has much more past than future.

This is, alas, a collection of disparate individuals rather than a team.

Everton had, in Leon Osman, the best player on the pitch. He was fearless, he was confident, he was skilful - everything that Birmingham were not.

I expect Birmingham to survive on May 7 and, if they do, it will be the greatest day in their history. But after that comes the revolution.